An interesting article came out of the Wall Street Journal yesterday, describing the manufacturing of bootleg Blu-ray discs in China. The bootlegs are much cheaper to produce than Blu-ray discs because they make use of the AVCHD (Advanced Video Codec High Definition) format which can be set to 720 lines of resolution instead of the standard Blu-ray 1080p.
The lower resolution movies can be put on standard DVDs which are much cheaper than Blu-ray Discs, enabling the black market to produce better than standard resolution discs that customers may not be able to notice are not 1080p. Whether or not the discs are 720p or 720i was not mentioned in the article.
A raid in China last month found 800 of the counterfeit Blu-ray discs which included authentic looking Blu-ray cases and even holographic labels. Online auction company eBay warned customers about possible Blu-ray Disc counterfeits.
The MPA (Motion Picture Association) says the fake Blu-ray discs could account for 10% of the $224 million that its members lose to piracy in China. While an authentic Blu-ray Disc retails for $25-$30, a bootleg can sell for $7 and this makes them desirable to consumers.
The double layer of rights protection on Blu-ray discs hasn’t stopped pirates from cracking the high-resolution discs. Even the BD+ protection layer developed by the Blu-ray Disc Association has been cracked. That layer in particular was built to make sure Blu-ray discs are not being played illegally.